“Accurate Records”

Keeping meticulous records of the baseline setup and any changes from that baseline is one of the most important things that you can do. Accurate records include details of the original baseline setup, the track conditions, the weather conditions, the changes that are made to the baseline setup, and the resulting changes in handling characteristics of the car. These records become your most important resource when setting up the car for an evening's racing. The racer can then consult the records to determine which successful adjustments go along with the conditions that are expected at race time. Rather than testing all afternoon, the racer should be ready to go at the first practice session, leaving enough time for testing without being too far away from actual race conditions. If the car is tight on a warm track, the racer should consider that the track will change, and resist the temptation to start making all kinds of adjustments to the car. If a large problem is encountered in prerace testing, first consult your records before making wholesale changes in the setup.

Another issue to remember is that during testing, the car must be driven consistently. Drivers have a tendency to try to make the car go fast regardless of the way the car is handling. To determine what adjustments to make, the driver must be consistent, braking at the same spot, rolling back on the throttle at the same spot, and hitting the same spots in the turns every time. Only then can the car be diagnosed and corrected.

Records should be kept on a form designed for this purpose, and all information must be logged at the time it is determined. Don't trust the information to memory and hope to remember it when you open the book tomorrow - you will forget. Going back to the car to measure and record the settings on the morning after a race is also a bad idea - the adjustments may have changed during the evening's races.

Mike Loescher is the owner and chief instructor at FinishLine Racing School in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Mike holds Chassis Seminars throughout the year - all around the USA & Canada. View our class schedule or call 386-427-8522 to schedule a private setup date.

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